From Beyond (1986)
Directed by Stuart Gordon
Produced by Brian Yuzna
(***warning, explicit and graphic images and descriptions below)
Ever since Freddy Kruger uttered his first snarky line at his wincing victim, horror in the 1980’s was headed down a path to morbid humor. Few would take it as far as the Stuart Gordon directed, Brian Yuzna produced, re-imagining of the HP Lovecraft tale, From Beyond. This film is morbid black humor taken to the extremes of sadistic gore and horrific irony. While a majority of fans will pick Reanimator as their favorite Gordon/Yuzna collaboration, I like this one a little better, mostly because of the strange abstract creature that Dr. Pretorius becomes.
A machine invented by Dr. Pretorius and Dr. Crawford Tillinghast called The (Tillinghast) Resonator is believed to stimulate an unused gland within the human brain. The gland enables a person to see into a parallel dimension. The life forms in this parallel dimension have a penchant for human flesh and anyone who moves within the energy field of the machine is attacked.
Dr Katherine McMichaels (Barbara Crampton), is the psychiatrist assigned to Crawford’s case. He has been in the mental institution since the death of Pretorius. When she brings Crawford to the lab to reconstruct the scene of the crime, they both discover that Pretorius is not dead, just transcended into the beyond. As Crawford and McMichaels become mesmerized under the machine’s influence, Pretorius returns to devour them both. A detective sent to guard them, played by Ken Foree, is eaten alive by the strange creatures. McMichaels acts out some repressed sexual desires, made evident by how her eyes linger on a video of Pretorius performing sadistic sex acts. Crawford’s pineal gland bursts out of the front of his forehead like an eel and demands for Crawford to find new sustenance. He attacks the head psychiatrist, sucks out her eyeball then devours her brain by sucking it out through her eye socket. Yeah, gross! But I can’t look away. I haven’t been this mesmerized by gore since a possessed woman stabbed a number two pencil into a woman’s Achilles tendon in Evil Dead! Crawford goes on to suck out more eyeballs and brains, I giant worm grows in the basement and McMichaels is turned-on by the vibrations of the resonator and goes full tilt S&M.
This gory grind-fest is not for the feint at heart, but if you like Evil Dead 2 and Dead Alive, I think you will like this film. It’s absurd violence, a bizarre journey into gory blood-lust entertainment.
The Lovecraft story that this film is adapted from is only 7 pages long.
The house where the lab is located and the experiments take place has an odd address, 666 Benevolent St.
At the mental hospital, automatic doors use the door opening sound from the original Star Trek series.
Here’s some alternate posters and dvd/blu-ray art:
I totally need to see this one….
Oh, man. You never saw this? Hard to believe this fell under your radar. I know you saw Reanimator, I figure you would have just followed up with this one.
Nope – never saw this one…. I don’t really know why…
Naturally it’ll have less impact than if you saw it in the 80’s but I still think it would make for a fun flick to watch today. 😀
Yep – I need to remember to queue it up ~
I only saw this recently, I’d heard about it before though. Wow, its really good, and the effects are really gruesome.
That’s cool that you just saw it recently and thought it was good. Sometimes I like older films particle because of nostalgia, and it’s hard to tell if someone saw it for the first time now would like it. Crazy little horror film 🙂
I’d read the short story, so always wanted to see the film, glad I finally got to see it. Its certainly a crazy horror film, loved it 😀
I can’t believe I haven’t seen this. Good review, and now I have something to go in search for, so thanks very much. 🙂
Firstly, let me state right up front, that I have never seen this film. I am surprised, given the year that it came out, and the dedication I have put into finding and watching horror films, that I have yet to cross off my mental list. I am not a fan of extreme gore, so I certainly will be sure I have eaten long before I sit down to watch this one, based on what you wrote. The movie sure does sound like a wild ride, and if and when I get the chance to watch it, I will let you know my thoughts.
To me, the gore turns out to be almost horror comic book-ish, so it’s not as bad as watching some of the torture flicks (like Hostel) in recent years 🙂
In that case, if the gore is more comic book based, I can easily handle that. Like I stated in the other comment, I am looking forward to watching the film. If I can’t find it on television or Netflix, I’ll buy a copy of it from eBay.
It was on Netflix streaming a while ago and they always rotate things in and out so I’m sure it will be back again. But knowing how much you like Lovecraft I guess you would rather buy it. 🙂
I’ve never seen this one. Most of the 80’s horror films I’ve seen were in the 80’s because I don’t usually run after horror films from that decade.
Pingback: Re-Animator (1985) – movie review | parlor of horror